Simon has never been satisfied with the carefully controlled life his government limits him to with its curfews and totally structured time. He longs for a nebulous something more.
When he spots a secret door opening into his father’s workshop, and stumbles onto a secret society charged with protecting spiritual truths long outlawed, Simon leaps at the chance to become involved. Soon he’s training to be a Messenger, carrying bits of scriptures nearly lost from one outpost to another. As he learns more about the man Jesus and the truths he spoke, Simon realizes it’s not enough to carefully guard the secrets. He must find a way to tell others what he knows, even if doing so costs him his life.
At first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like a story so completely steeped in its spiritual themes, but I think the dystopian world and the gradual unveiling of Jesus’ teachings really works here. My only criticism of the spiritual components is that Simon is just being introduced to these ideas, and in some places, I felt like there wasn’t enough explanation of various rituals or elements. For instance, at first he doesn’t know where the Bible passages he’s learning come from, but at some point the references (Book, chapter, verse) are introduced but never explained.
I liked Simon’s character a lot. He’s thoughtful but vulnerable. At first I worried he would be too snarky and know-it-all, which tends to get on my nerves, but it quickly became clear that he was more than the trouble-making smart-mouth. I kind of wished there were more interactions between him and other teen characters. The cast is weighted and there are a lot of scenes with adult and mentor characters. I think it worked okay because the story stayed focused on Simon’s discoveries and hinged on his developing understanding and planned actions, but I wished there was more involvement from other younger characters and more dialogue to break up some of the longer narrative sections. On the whole, though, I really enjoyed reading it.
I really liked the fusion of dystopian elements and Christian elements. This book is definitely going to have the most appeal to someone looking for strong Christian themes. Fans of Rachelle Dekker’s Seer Series should add this to their reading lists.
Simon is described as having dark eyes and olive skin. There weren’t very many details like this or any racial identifiers.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Simon feels some attraction toward a girl.
Simon learns about a secret group of Christians. They teach him about Jesus. Several passages contain scriptures and some sermon-like moments.
Vague dreams haunt Simon. In them, he’s restrained and threatened by an unknown man. In one, he’s held upside down. In another, water drips onto him.